Some cases dismissed against former sheriff
Former Wood County Sheriff James Brown got good news at the end of 2019. On Dec. 31, in the 402nd District Court, visiting Judge Joe Clayton dismissed two felony abuse of official capacity charges filed against Brown in connection with a shooting incident which happened adjacent to his property in November 2015.
The felony charges dropped were for abuse of official capacity. Brown must still face four misdemeanor charges for official oppression.
Judge Clayton, who represented the 402nd Judicial District Court in this case, signed the order to dismiss prosecution against Brown on Dec. 31. In the order it says “Wherefore, the court having considered attorney pro tem’s motion to dismiss prosecution in the above-entitled and numbered case, said motion is herby granted and the above referenced case is dismissed.”
In his motion Brown’s attorney, Douglas Parks, requested the court dismiss the charges because of his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial had been violated. In the motion Parks said, “The defendant allegedly committed the offense of abuse of official capacity on or about Oct. 27, 2015. Almost four years have elapsed since the indictment was returned. Neither defendant or defense council has committed any act or omission contributing to this delay.”
Parks further stated in the motion that the post-accusation delay of eight months or longer has been found to be presumptively prejudicial. Further in the motion Parks said, “The above described delay is prejudicial to the defendant in that since commencement of this action, the defendant has suffered much anxiety and concern regarding the outcome of the trial herein.”
Parks said Monday that Brown was glad with the results. “We are happy it was finally dismissed. Jim (Brown) is doing well and he’s glad we finally made some progress since it’s only taken four years,” Parks said. We are happy the state realized in the interest of justice that there was no offense here. We are pleased it was dismissed and sorry it took so long. Sheriff Brown states he did not violate the law and justice was done in dismissal.”
A Wood County grand jury had indicted Brown in October 2017, and he was arrested Nov. 1, 2017. He posted bail and was released the same day.
The original indictment came from a shooting incident in Wood County in November 2015 when two owners of an oil company, John and Winston Forrester, were shot by Brown’s neighbor, Jerry Boone. Boone owned land which the Forresters had to cross to gain access to a well on Brown’s property. Boone was later charged with second degree assault. He was found guilty and is serving a five-year and two-year concurrent sentences in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.